Amelia’s Magazine | Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen: Live Review

Beth Jeans Houghton by Gemma Cotterell

Beth Jeans Houghton by Gemma Cotterell

Squeezing past the punters at the bar, I could see that the box-like auditorium of Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen was already full in anticipation at the arrival of Beth Jeans Houghton. This was the last night of the tour supporting her new album, Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose, and, like her most recent appearance in the capital (Upstairs at the Garage), all tickets had long since gone.

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I’d first discovered Beth Jeans Houghton a couple of years ago, playing a set at the Windmill in Brixton. At the time, the young Newcastle singer was a hotly tipped one-to-watch on the nu-folk scene (though she would probably consider herself more un-folk) following the release of the Hot Toast Volume One EP, before she seemingly dropped off the radar. Houghton resurfaced last year, having signed to Mute, and could be spotted playing at the Camden Crawl and, later on, at the Lexington (sporting a tiger stripe onesie, as you do). Gone are the wigs that she used to wear at gigs, the acoustic guitar (she’s now electric, you see) and the battered suitcase that doubled as a bass drum, but that amazing voice is still unchanged.

Beth Jeans Houghton by Sandra Jawad

Beth Jeans Houghton by Sandra Jawad

Taking to the stage with her band, the Hooves of Destiny, there was bit of a jokey keyboard and drums Also Sprach Zarathustra moment before things got underway. The set was basically a run through of tracks from the album, with a few added goodies thrown in. Houghton was very much centre stage, with a sparkly blue dress, bouffant blonde hair and bright red lipstick, and her voice soared through songs like Dodecahedron and Liliputt. Some Afrobeat-style guitar introduced Atlas, which I’m fairly sure had a few subtly altered lyrics, and old favourite I Will Return, I Promise was given a sprightly makeover.

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Houghton was more than capably backed by the band, featuring the imposing Findlay MacAskill on violin and backing vocal duties, Dav Shiel and his galloping drums, Ed Blazey swapping between trumpet, a very posh banjo and guitar and bass player Rory Gibson’s frighteningly loud trousers. It was pretty clear that everyone was enjoying themselves, and a broken string and dodgy guitar strap did little to dampen the onstage banter. Houghton was in impish mood, telling the audience what MacAskill (a doctor) had been doing during the day (repairing some poor unfortunate’s nether regions) before conducting a survey of what people’s favourite words were (“discombobulation” seemed to score quite highly). There was also a prize for “funkiest dancer” up for grabs.

Beth Jeans Houghton by Claire Kearns

Beth Jeans Houghton by Claire Kearns

The set closed with Houghton and the Hooves joined by the support band, Goodnight Lenin, for a fully choreographed rendition of (would you believe) Madonna’s Like A Prayer, before being urged back on stage by the crowd for an encore and ripping through the joyously punky coda to the album finale, Carousel.

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With her much anticipated album finally released (and very well received), and now apparently based full time in Los Angeles, it looks like Beth Jeans Houghton and the Hooves of Destiny will be riding on to bigger and better things.

Categories ,afrobeat, ,beth jeans houghton, ,Brixton, ,Camden Crawl, ,folk, ,Goodnight Lenin, ,Hooves of Destiny, ,Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen, ,Los Angeles, ,Madonna, ,Mute, ,Newcastle, ,The Garage, ,The Lexington, ,The Windmill

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Amelia’s Magazine | Music Listings


Monday 19th January

Greg Dulli/Mark Lanegan, Union Chapel, London


For fans of the drug-n-whisky soaked darker side of life this intimate venue should be the perfect place to catch the full intensity of this bad boy duo’s melancholic rumblings.

Still Flyin’, Stricken City, We Have Band, Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen, London

15-piece Californian band/orchestra/whatever headline with their sunny but diverse indie pop. Plus cool electro pop from We Have Band.

Tuesday 20th January

Kasms, White Heat, London

Noisy and shambolic guitar sounds from these metal-tinged black-haired Londoners.

Wednesday 21st January

Wire, Cargo, London


Sometimes gigs from old favourites can be a risky business, often liable to disappoint when your heroes have become sad old has-beens. With any luck these late 70s punk stalwarts were too cool to age badly and this should be a great gig.

Little Joy, Dingwalls, London

Strokes drummer Fab Moretti becomes a front man on this side project. Expect New Yorkey, indie-pop in a similar vein to, um, The Strokes via Brazil.

Thursday 22nd January

La Roux, Cockpit, Leeds


She’s in Issue 10 so she must be pretty good but don’t just take our (and every other music journalist in England’s) word for it. Check out her fun dance pop live.

Friday 23rd January

Sky Larkin, Barfly, Cardiff


Cute but clever indie rock from Leeds with a definite off-beat edge.

David Grubbs, The Croft, Bristol

Once the founder of 80s punk metallers Squirrel Bait, David Grubbs now plays grungy post-rock as a solo concern.

Saturday 24th January

James Yuill, The Macbeth, London


Think Jose Gonzalez without the advert but with plenty of electronic sounds to accompany the quiet and introspective acoustic numbers.

Of Montreal, Digital, Brighton

Much loved indie pop, spreading a little happiness whilst supporting Franz Ferdinand on their latest tour.

Sunday 25th January

Le Corps Mince de Francoise, Library, Lancaster


Daft Finnish pop in the same vein as CSS, Chicks on Speed and others of that ilk. Crazy make up and fun party girls = a great end to the weekend.

Categories ,Barfly, ,David Grubbs, ,Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen, ,James Yuill, ,Kasms, ,La Roux, ,Le Corps Mince de Francoise, ,Listings, ,Little Joy, ,Musician, ,Of Montreal, ,Sky Larkin, ,Still Flyin’, ,Stricken City, ,We Have Band, ,Wire

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